BRIAN ALLEN WITH TONY MALABY AND TOM RAINEY - SYNAPSE REVIEW

from All About Jazz New York January 2007
www.allaboutjazz.com/aaj_ny_200701.pdf
Trombonist Brian Allen brings a burst of energy to contemporary creative music
on Synapse (his fifth release), as his trio fits melody, harmony and rhythm
into a mixed bag of free-flowing ideas. Tony Malaby plays a major role on this
album too, as he helps steer the trio toward more outside adventures. Along with
Allen and drummer Tom Rainey, he provides multidirectional flavors that keep
the session on edge.

Veterans all, the three artists hail from points west: Rainey from Southern
California, Malaby from Southern Arizona and Allen from Southeast Texas.  With
their free attitude on display, each participates equally, pushing each improvised
piece with unbridled passion. The scenes rise and fall as the mood shifts, but
the trio never boils over. They control each situation so that impressions remain
vocal-like and natural. Malaby’s aromatic tenor wafts melodic while Allen drives
in circles of animated motion and Rainey colors with aplomb. Cohesive, the trio
takes cues from each other gracefully and soars eloquently.  With a great
respect for poetry in motion, the trio uses most of its energy to work collectively,
creating three-way scenes that reflect different impressions.  

“Tageshif” drives powerfully with a forceful manner while “Espancino” dances
joyfully in celebration of the trio’s free spirit. “Tenrayle” begins with a quiet lull
that morphs gradually into a soulful, vocal-like moan while “Expecade” includes
bombs from the drummer and wails from the two horns.  Unique through its
original instrumentation and free through its wide-ranging array of impressions,
Allen’s trio provides a lively yet integrated program of avant garde jazz. ~Jim
Santella